Jacksonville's King Street District
Updated On: Apr 18 2013 02:15:47 PM EDT
We decided it was time to chronicle, list and photograph the amazing businesses that make the incredible King Street District.
Prior to the amazing redevelopment of the past couple of years, King Street had been problematic for the better part of 40 years. Despite the occasional amazing venues for the independent and alternative scene that had been located in this area, its been various degrees of seedy for decades.
While Post and King was the eponymous location of Post and King Liquors (where some of the best punk band performers in the country performed), and the iconoclastic Art Bar owned by Christy Clark was just a few blocks away, not to mention the proximity of the 730 Club, there were definitely some rough patches.From the 80s all the way through to the end of the Art Bar era, there were always drug dealers and male hustlers working Park and King, and Post and King. And so it went until about four years ago.
When Kickbacks transferred to new management, the clientele began to change noticeably. The simple fact that there were people walking back and forth from the restaurant to their cars ended up being a real crime deterrent in the neighborhood, as police were called when things happened, and the cops began to patrol through the area more frequently and with more purpose due to the number of people dining there past 2 in the morning.
Nothing is more beneficial to a developing district than a business of this sort: Responsible owners and managers who must provide a safe environment for their patrons if they want to stay open. Without any public commendation or apparently notice, the management (and customers) of Kickback's managed to do what decades of community watch programs failed to do.
They made King Street safe to walk down. The sidewalk seating and table service outside saw to that. Thanks and recognition should be given to the offbeat establishment. Followers of events for the past year know that this is the exact opposite of what happened for them as they tried to open a second location, Guttyworks and Guzzlepipes.
But the past two years especially have witnessed miraculous and transformational change.For reasons which future generations will never fully understand the improvements themselves were opposed and nearly killed by anti business activists in the neighborhood, adding what would be an insurmountable series of obstacles to the already catastrophic national economy. Somehow these efforts have not been enough to kill the transformation. Really, not even to slow it down.
Above all, there are finally people. Lots of people. In fact the crowds are vibrant and wonderful. Getting thick on the ground on weekend nights, and miraculously there is visibly walking traffic going back and forth between the friendly neighboring establishments.
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